If you are a cat or a dog parent, there’s no doubt that you love them like family. That means you want to take the absolute best care of them and make sure they get the right treatments when they are not well.
Your kitty or pup should see a vet at least yearly for an annual check-up and should always be kept up-to-date on all shots, like rabies and parvo. But, for other more routine issues and ailments, like fleas or itchy skin, you might want to consider giving natural, home remedies a try. Often, your furry buddy can feel better with a treatment made from natural, non-toxic ingredients that are easy to obtain.
With natural pet remedies, it’s best to start slowly and with small amounts. You don’t want to overdo any one treatment, no matter how simple or small the remedy may seem.
As with anything regarding your beloved pet, safety should always come first. Since you will probably not be under the guidance of a medical professional, it’s essential to do some due diligence before treating your furry friend. If you’re still feeling unsure, you can always give your vet a call or send an email inquiry.
Below are just a few natural remedies that are safe and effective for cats and dogs and will have them feeling like their fabulous furry selves in no time.
Skin & Coat Remedies
Dry, itchy skin can be frustrating for you and uncomfortable for your pet. After you’ve ruled out any food allergies or any pests, like fleas or mites, there are a few supplements that might be worth a try. Fats and vitamins can help balance the oil in your pets’ skin, which can improve fur quality, as well. Some popular choices include vitamin E oil, coconut oil, and fish oil. Supplements like these come in different forms, such as chewables, capsules, and liquids designed to be drizzled over food.
You can also try using a chamomile tea spritz to soothe a persistent skin itch. Prepare the tea as directed, adjusting the amount of water to increase or decrease potency. Then allow it to cool before transferring to a spray bottle (BPA-fee, if possible) and refrigerating for 3-5 days.
Minor Cuts, Scrapes & Sores
Lavender essential oil is used all over the world, and its benefits are plentiful. For minor cuts, scrapes, and skin sores, lavender oil, which is known for its potent pain-relieving, antimicrobial, and healing properties, is gentle enough to be applied directly to the skin. We suggest applying a thin film (one drop should suffice) directly to the abrasion or sore.
Applying granulated sugar is another time-honored treatment for open wounds in both humans and animals. It is absorbent, soaking up contaminated fluid and debris from the surface of the wound, and is also anti-bacterial. Applying sugar prevents bacterial growth and can even help resolve an existing infection. Do not moisten the sugar, simply apply it dry directly onto the wound and cover with a bandage.
To clean a wound, we find witch hazel to be superior to other cleaning agents, such as alcohol or peroxide because it is effective and extremely gentle on the skin. There is also nothing wrong with plain, mild, fragrance-free soap and water.
For dogs that are prone to tummy troubles, adding a little plain yogurt (with live, active cultures) to their food can be beneficial. Don’t forget, just like people, pets that are taking antibiotics may develop stomach issues as the medication wipes out beneficial bacteria, as well as the nasty bacteria.
Additional GI issues, such as gas, constipation, IBS, diarrhea, etc., are common in both cats and dogs. Some of the safest supplements to try if your pet has continual GI problems include enzymes, probiotics, or glutamine. Common compounds to look for include ginger, slippery elm, lactobacillus sporogenes, and N-acetylglucosamine. Check the label or contact your vet for the proper dosage for your pet.
Joint Pain & Mobility Issues
While NSAIDs, such as Rimadyl, are commonly prescribed for joint pain in pets, they can be damaging to the liver and GI system when taken over long periods of time. Some pets exhibit other side effects from these drugs, as well. If you’d like to try a non-prescription supplement first to see if your pet’s mobility or pain-level improves, there are several over-the-counter options available. Some remedies that have been used for centuries to control inflammation are glucosamine, chondroitin, vitamin C, fish oil, turmeric, alfalfa, and Boswellia.
If your pet is suddenly limping, she may have sprained or strained something. For minor injuries, such as a sprain, try adding a ½ cup of Epsom salt to a warm bath and let your pet soak for five minutes, two times a day. If your pet isn’t the bath type, you can soak a washcloth in the Epsom salt and warm water solution and apply just to the injured area.
If your pet cannot comfortably walk, sleep, or go potty, it’s time to call the vet. Your vet may need to prescribe medication to control her symptoms.
A Note from GR8NESS
Many things can happen quickly to our pets, which don’t always have the luxury of time—time to get him or her to the vet, time to make an appointment or time to wait for a return call. If you feel your pet is in severe or dire danger, contact your veterinarian immediately.